ABCA Disciplinary Rules
The ABCA board has adopted the following rules and procedures for dealing with registration violations or other misconduct.
- Any member who submits a false statement or falsified document to the Association, who violates the By-Laws or Rules of the Association, who fails to cooperate in the investigation of a complaint by the Association, who assists another to circumvent disciplinary sanctions imposed by the Association, or whose practices in the breeding of Border Collies are such as to otherwise impair the reliability of the records of the Association, shall be subject to discipline by the Association, including censure, loss of all registration/certification privileges, and suspension or expulsion from membership. Any attempt to assist another to circumvent disciplinary sanctions, if done by a non-member, shall be grounds for denial of membership, and for declining to process any registration or transfer paperwork submitted by or on behalf of that non-member.
- Whenever an apparently credible complaint of misconduct is received against a person, or the President shall otherwise be made aware of evidence of misconduct, the President shall appoint one or more members of the Association to investigate the matter. If the person charged (the Respondent) fails or refuses to cooperate with the investigation, including any failure to provide DNA samples or access to dogs and kennels as requested, he or she shall be immediately suspended from membership, with loss of registration and all other privileges. Such a suspension shall automatically be converted to permanent expulsion from membership six months after the suspension was imposed, if the Respondent has not remedied his/her failure or refusal to cooperate by that date.
- If after investigation the evidence of misconduct still appears credible, the President shall appoint a Hearing Board, consisting of three members, at least one of whom must be a director, to hear and consider the evidence.
- The Respondent shall be given written notice, at least fifteen (15) days in advance of any hearing, of the complaint and of the time, date and place of the hearing. Such notice shall be given by personal delivery to the Respondent, or by mailing it by certified mail, postage prepaid, to the Respondents address as it appears in the Associations records. If the Hearing Board determines it to be appropriate, hearings may be conducted via a telephone conference call.
- Any pending applications for registration, transfers, or other paperwork affecting the studbook which have been submitted by a Respondent shall be held in abeyance and not acted upon until a final and binding resolution has been reached on the matters under investigation or hearing.
- The Respondent may submit a written response to the complaint, or may participate in the hearing, or both. Any Respondent who elects to participate in the hearing shall have the opportunity to testify, to present witnesses and evidence, and to hear and refute the evidence offered in support of the complaint. Respondents are entitled to be represented by counsel at the hearing if they so choose.
- Minutes will be taken of the hearing. Any Respondent wishing to have a complete record of the proceedings may, at his or her own expense, have the proceedings recorded and transcribed, provided that in that case the Respondent must furnish a copy of the transcript to the Association.
- The presiding officer of the Hearing Board may in his or her discretion grant a continuance upon request, or may continue the hearing for the purpose of obtaining further evidence even in the absence of a request.
- The Hearing Board shall issue a written decision within a reasonable time following conclusion of the hearing. If the Hearing Board upholds the complaint, it shall prescribe the appropriate disciplinary action, taking into account the number and gravity of the infractions, the harm resulting therefrom to the Association and others, and such other mitigating or aggravating factors as the Hearing Board may deem relevant.
- At any time prior to the issuance of the Hearing Boards decision, the Respondent may enter into negotiations with the investigator or the investigators designee in an attempt to resolve the matter informally. If a mutually acceptable resolution is agreed upon, it shall be presented to the Executive Committee of the Association, which may approve or disapprove it. If the Executive Committee approves it, it shall become the final settlement of the complaint, and any disciplinary action agreed to in the settlement shall have the same force and effect as if it had been ordered by the Hearing Board. If the Executive Committee does not approve it, the case will proceed, but if the complaint is upheld by the Hearing Board and its decision is appealed to the Board of Directors, the members of the Executive Committee shall take no part in the appeal process.
- The Respondent shall have the right to appeal from an adverse decision of the Hearing Board to the full Board of Directors of the Association. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the Board of Directors shall not receive any new evidence regarding the case, but shall decide the appeal based on the record of the hearing, and any additional written arguments submitted by or on behalf of the Respondent and the Complainant. The decision of the Board of Directors, or the decision of the Hearing Board if no appeal is taken, shall be final and binding on all parties.
- If a Respondent initiates court proceedings to challenge any disciplinary decision taken by the Association, and does not prevail in such litigation by the recovery of all relief requested, the Respondent shall be liable to the Association for its attorneys fees and other expenses incurred by virtue of the litigation.
- If the Hearing Board finds on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that certain dogs registered on the basis of information provided by the Respondent were not in fact the offspring of the sire and dam to whom they were attributed, the Hearing Board shall recommend to the Board of Directors that the registration of those dogs be cancelled. Upon approval by the Board of Directors, the said dogs will be de-registered from the Association.
- A conviction of cruelty, neglect or related offenses regarding dogs, or confiscation of dogs by lawful authorities and/or relinquishment of dogs to lawful authorities as a result of a charge of cruelty, neglect or other violation of laws regarding the care and treatment of dogs, shall be grounds for immediate suspension of membership and/or denial of membership. Dogs which have been confiscated in these circumstances and disposed of by lawful authority through sale or otherwise will ordinarily be de-registered, except where the dogs are returned to their owner as a result of his or her acquittal of the charges leading to the seizure. Any such denial or suspension of membership, and any such de-registration, may be appealed to the Board of Directors, which may if it deems necessary delegate the appeal to a Hearing Board for the taking of evidence and the making of recommendations. The decision of the Board of Directors on the appeal shall be final.